Select Board Reduces Quorum for Town Meeting, Recognizes Long Service of Outgoing Member Mike Walsh
On Wednesday, April 26th, 2023, for the third time over the past few years, Westwood’s Select Board has reduced the quorum for Town Meeting from 175 to 45. This reduction means that if attendance at the upcoming May 1st Annual Town Meeting is small or dwindles over time, as few as 45 residents can make decisions and carry on business on behalf of over 16,000 residents of Westwood.
The business of Select Board’s meeting this week was interrupted at multiple times when board members, town staff, and other attendees interjected their expressions of appreciation to outgoing Select Board member Michael Walsh.
Town Election was held on Tuesday, April 25th, and Mr. Walsh was defeated by Joseph Previtera by 52 votes. Mr. Previtera will be installed at Monday’s Annual Town Meeting.
Chair Robert Gotti listed Mr. Walsh’s accomplishments as leadership in redeveloping Islington, work on the Islington bridge, participating on the School Building Committee while it successfully sought an MSBA grant, work with senior Meals on Wheels and work with the Cronin Public Service Award.
Phil Shapiro, Westwood’s Interim Treasurer, thanked Mr. Walsh for his long service to the town. “It’s not easy stuff to do. It takes a lot of time and effort. And Michael Walsh has done it very, very well. I want to thank you, Mike.” he said.
Almost everyone had something to say in thanks for Mr. Walsh’s support and service.
As for Mr. Walsh, he said, “I can’t really say anything because it’s too early in the stage. I can’t make it through without some tears. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.”
In other action, Select Board:
- Approved a $1.225 million bond anticipation note (BAN) for a one year term. It will provide funding for the Conant Road culvert improvements ($200,000), cemetery expansion design work ($125,000), and the Canton Street sidewalk design ($900,000), which were three projects approved at the 2022 Annual Town Meeting.
- Entered two Memorandums of Agreement with the police union. The agreement, among other things, offers for the first time a “mental health day program.” It also eliminates compounding of administrative comp days, increases an education incentive and vacation accrual schedule, and incorporates random drug testing. There will be a 2.5 percent increase for FY2023 and a 2.5 percent and 1.5 percent base wage increases (for officers with education incentives) for FY2024-26. The FY26 wage table has been reduced from 12 steps to 8 steps which is believed to help make compensation more competitive with other area police departments.
- Approved a second valet parking space in front of Neroli’s Restaurant. Two parking spaces in front of Neroli’s on Washington Street will be designated for valet service from 4:00 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and weekends and for special events, on a trial basis. A tow or fine for valet parking violations was also instituted.